The 1792-94 Macartney Embassy – The first clash between China and the West

During the 16th century and most of the 17th century, China enjoyed a generally positive image in Europe. The works of the Jesuits - Catholic missionaries who lived and proselytized in the Far East - depicted the Central Kingdom as a well-governed and ethical society. (Jones, 2001, p. 18) Chinese art became popular with European … Continue reading The 1792-94 Macartney Embassy – The first clash between China and the West

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Freedom or despotism? – Autocratic governance and laissez-faire in Imperial China

China is ... a despotic state, whose principle is fear. Perhaps in the earliest dynasties, when the empire had not so large an extent, the government might have deviated a little from this spirit; but the case is otherwise at present. (Charles De Secondat Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws) During the Manchu dynasty ... [t]he … Continue reading Freedom or despotism? – Autocratic governance and laissez-faire in Imperial China

Deng Xiaoping On Personality Cult And One-Man Rule – 1980 Interview

On February 25 Chinese state media announced a list of proposed amendments to China’s Constitution that will in all likelihood be adopted at the National People’s Congress (NPC) starting on March 5. One of the the 21 proposed amendments is the abolition of the current limit of two five-year terms for the office of the President and … Continue reading Deng Xiaoping On Personality Cult And One-Man Rule – 1980 Interview

Why Did Chiang Kai-shek Lose China? The Guomindang Regime And The Victory Of The Chinese Communist Party

"Reports of lost battles swirl in like falling snow," wrote Chiang Kai-shek at the end of 1948. "North China and the below-the-wall region are on the brink of collapse. I do not feel guilty. I tried my best" (quoted in: Jay Taylor,  The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China, 2009, p. 397). … Continue reading Why Did Chiang Kai-shek Lose China? The Guomindang Regime And The Victory Of The Chinese Communist Party

The China-South Korea Spat and the Tradition of China’s Anti-Foreign Boycotts

"Lotte Group's development in the Chinese market should come to an end", wrote the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times on February 28, one day after the South Korean conglomerate approved a land swap deal that allowed the government in Seoul to deploy a controversial US missile defence system. The Terminal High Altitude Area … Continue reading The China-South Korea Spat and the Tradition of China’s Anti-Foreign Boycotts

China and the May 4th Movement

"When the May Fourth Movement took place in 1919, I was only sixteen years old, a student at the Tianjin Women’s Normal College", wrote Deng Yingchao (邓颖超/ 鄧穎超; pinyin: Dèng Yǐngchāo) years after the events. "On May 4, 1919 students in Beijing held a demonstration asking the government to refuse to sign the Versailles Peace … Continue reading China and the May 4th Movement

China at War – The Story of Teng Chan

The following story from a book published in 1945 offers a fascinating insight into the life and mentality of ordinary people in wartime China.  [Teng Chan] saw the beginning of the war as a bachelor in Shang-hai and Nanking, met and fell in love with a girl, and was married, lived through the worst of … Continue reading China at War – The Story of Teng Chan

The Traditional Roots of Parental Pressure and Academic Success in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Chinese state media once called China a "world superpower in stress". According to a 2012 survey, 75% of Chinese workers are stressed, compared with 47% in the United States, 42% in the United Kingdom, and 58% in Germany. Over 70% percent of Chinese white-collar workers suffer from overwork, which poses a serious risk to their health. … Continue reading The Traditional Roots of Parental Pressure and Academic Success in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Directness, Hierarchy and Social Roles in Chinese Culture

Social hierarchies, "face" and etiquette have traditionally played an important role in Chinese society. These elements of social interaction are reflected in the way people talk and act. In particular, it has been argued that Chinese people "are much more vague and indirect than Westerners". One may find such views even in authoritative news outlets. … Continue reading Directness, Hierarchy and Social Roles in Chinese Culture

The 228 Incident – The Uprising that Changed Taiwan’s History

228 Incident (The Terrible Inspection), circa 1947, by Li Jun   At 11:00 A.M. of February 27, 1947, Taipei City's Monopoly Bureau was informed that a boat carrying fifty boxes of illegal matches and cigarettes had arrived near the port of Danshui, north of Taipei.Matches and cigarettes were part of the system of government monopolies set up … Continue reading The 228 Incident – The Uprising that Changed Taiwan’s History